Our society places an extraordinary amount of pressure to prove our worth in our younger years. But it’s during our middle-age years when we really begin to come into our own. I recently read an article on late bloomers that offered some insight on how our cultural obsession for youthful achievement can actually prevent us from pursuing that which could give our lives meaning, provide a feeling of self-fulfillment, and allow us to embrace our true selves. The reason? People tend to think that if they haven’t already found their true path in their youth, then it’s too late. And yet, you may still feel this yearning to break free from convention.
I wholeheartedly believe everyone should be able to live their lives in a way that allows them to have a sense of meaning, especially when it comes to their careers. We should love the work we do for a living. It should give us joy and a sense of purpose. If we don’t, then we need to consider why we do not feel this way about what we are spending the majority of our waking hours doing. If, after reflection, we find that the problem is our approach to work, then we have to break through the limitations we’ve placed on ourselves and the role. If it is related to the company we work for – not every company is the perfect fit – then we need to also do some work to find a job or career that aligns with what we enjoy working on.
You do not need to work in a glamorous profession to feel a sense of self-fulfillment. Many hard-working individuals feel content with their role as care takers or assistants. To insist that every life be measured by a glamorous status is to deny that each individual has a particular purpose that is unique to them. In order for us to find that purpose, we need to do a deep dive into ourselves to understand what motivates us, what we love working on, what gives us a sense of satisfaction, and how it contributes to the betterment of our communities as a whole.
To discover your purpose in life, regardless of your age, you need to do the following:
· Become Aware of Your Skills: High EQ and self-awareness allow you to know your strengths and weaknesses in terms of your skills. You can then know how to best use these skills to fulfill yourself.
· Diversify Your Skill Set: Have a wide range of interests. Lots of different skills work together to help you reach your goal. Step away from specializing and embrace a variety of skills and experiences. Be open to learning new things at any age.
· Fuel Yourself: What inspires you? When you know what can spark your curiosity and creativity, you need to fuel yourself with this. It will make you feel alive and fulfilled. This fuel can be what drives your career and it can be something that provides you with the joy of creativity in your work and life.
· Align Yourself: We tend to be where we are in life for a reason. If you haven’t yet found your purpose, it may be that you just need to sync up with the direction life is leading you. Stop resisting it. Once you’ve accepted this, everything will fall into place.
· Stop Continuously Seeking: There is nothing wrong with deeply searching for your purpose in life. But if you’re constantly looking for it elsewhere instead of where you currently have landed, you may be dealing with the greener pastures conundrum. The grass will always seem greener if you’re not willing to look at what’s working for you where you are in your life now. Escapism is not the answer.
· Do Not Limit Yourself: If you feel as if you’re straightjacketed by limitations you’ve placed on yourself or your career, then you must do the work to break through these. They prevent you from becoming who you need to be. Watch the words you use when you talk about your job, your dreams, and your life to others or to yourself. If you find that you use limiting phrases, then you’re self-imposing rules you need to learn how to break. These are preventing you from living your life to the fullest.
· Be OK with Being an Outlier: Be comfortable with who you are. Embrace your extraordinary self. Each person has a unique gift. The way to uncover this is to be comfortable in your own skin – be OK with being an outlier.
Your best work is accomplished between the ages of 40-65. Do not fear if you haven’t yet found what drives you or you haven’t yet staked your claim. Remember that the experiences we amass throughout life give us the wisdom, fortitude, and knowledge to know who we are. That is something those who are celebrated for their youthful achievements have not yet accomplished.